I did a Facebook Live video while I tested the Zero S in which I suggested that, like it or not, the petrol engine’s days were numbered and this was the future. The post got lots of shares and likes but also some of those little Facebook crying faces.
I think anyone dismayed by a future of electric motorcycles would comforted by trying one. By realising that they are different, yes, but still motorcycles.
Some of the riding characteristics are new but the throttle is still addictive. This much torque immediately available will never be boring.
While the model I tested had a modest range, electric bikes are advancing that respect. Zero’s given all its models 10% more range for 2018. One, with the power tank, will do 111 miles at 70mph and recharge to 95% in two hours and 48 minutes. With the charge tank instead of the power tank, it will recharge to 95% in two hours exactly, and still manage 90 miles at 70mph. That’s while making 69hp and 107lbft, and with claimed top speed of 101mph.
And we’re still only at the start. When the news emerged in July that new vehicles were to be electric from 2014, Steve Kenward, CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association, welcomed it as a “tremendous commercial trigger to push on with electric motorcycles”.
So imagine what electric bikes of a few years’ time will be like. I’m looking forward to finding out.
Model tested: Zero S ZF7.2 11KW
Price: £10,690 (£9,190 with £1,500 government grant)
Motor: 11kW electric
Power: 31hp (continuous power 15hp)
Kerb weight: 142kg
Range: 44 miles at 70 miles, 88 in the city or 60 miles on a combination of roads
Charge time: At a domestic socket, 100% in five hours and 12 minutes or 95% in four hours and 42 minutes. With option £2,300 charge tank and public charging point, 100% in one-and-a-half hours and 95% in one hour.
Typical household cost of a charge: £1.30